Nabeel Mahmood Provides Insight on Bridging the Communications Gap Between IT, FM, and C-Suite Executives

A mission-critical consultant and “Global CXO,” Nabeel Mahmood is a noted speaker at the Critical Facilities Summit, September 23rd through 25th, at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas. Mahmood will be participating in a panel discussion, “Power Couples: Making the Most of the FM-IT Relationship,” on September 24th. We recently spoke with Mahmood about the need for a unified approach between facilities managers and IT professionals.

Critical Facilities Summit: What do you think are the main causes of disputes between FM and IT teams?

Mahmood:  We often find silos organizationally where different players have conflicting priorities, and don’t understand each other’s goals and limitations. Typically, Facilities managers are looking at resource availability in terms of space, power, and cooling capacity, whereas IT managers are looking at how quickly they can deploy new applications or improve the user experience on existing applications. Meanwhile, the C-suite is looking at dollars, and coordinating with IT on how quickly they can turn applications into revenue and profits.

This leads to potential conflicts between the three groups. For example, IT is ready to roll out a new solution per the C-suite vision which is going to require significant computing resources.  As IT walks through the data center they see half-empty data center, and wonder why it takes FM so long to do a so needed IT expansion. They don’t understand the technical aspects that FM has to deal with, such as resource availably, load balancing, power quality, power distribution, infrastructure redundancy, uptime, airflow etc,, to support the infrastructure.

CFS: Do you see lack of communication between the different players as being the major factor in these conflicts?

Mahmood:  Absolutely! In many organizations, C-suite sees application deployment as a revenue strength, & typically they want to deploy new applications faster than what their FM team can support. The IT team is on board with C-suite, but often they’re not communicating with their peers in the facilities group, it is typically a directive to the facilities group “We’re rolling out these application in six months which will increase our computing requirements.. with half the site empty we should be able to plug in the required hardware and meet our timelines.”

At the same time, many FM teams are not utilizing real-time collaborative tools and resources that they could be using to track operational data in their mission-critical environments. It’s difficult for the facility group to keep up with the “Information Now” culture. Many FM teams are still using spreadsheets as a means to track critical infrastructure metrics, which means they’re often using data that is out-of-date.

CFS: What types of technology tools do you think would help to bridge the communications gap between FM, IT, and C-suite executives?

Mahmood:  We need to develop FM applications that provide real-time data about facilities operations, while providing each of the business units with a “single pane of glass”. For example, if the IT team decides they will need X number of petabytes to make their six-month deadline for the next software or application release, this “single pane of glass” tool should provide resource utilization data including and not limited to resource availability and enhancement requests whilst addressing budgets, work flow and infrastructure lifecycle.

Also, the FM application should provide different teams with real-time data about available resources. For example, if the data center utilization level in a mission-critical environment is, 15%, that means you have about 85% availability in your infrastructure. In this example, the FM application should be able to determine how much computing capacity is available and potential revenue, associated with it. Proper use of such a tool will help bridge the growing gap between the silos, as these group address revenue, technology and infrastructure needs.

CFS: You will be participating in a panel discussion, “Power Couples: Making the Most of the FM-IT Relationship,” at Critical Facilities Summit. What is the biggest takeaway that attendees will receive from attending this discussion?

Mahmood:  The biggest takeaways that attendees will receive are:

  • To bridge the communication gap between FM, IT, and C-Suite executives, we need to create applications that provide each business team with a “single pane of glass” view of their facility resources in their own language.
  • We need to develop and standardize Data Center/ Infrastructure utilization metrics that can be understood simply across any business segment, and can provide comparable metrics between budget dollars, computing power, and resource utilization.
  • We also need to develop unified business strategies that require business unit leaders (FM, IT, OPS) to develop collaborative solutions.
  • Facilities managers need to adopt AI, Machine Learning, and IoT technologies that will give them real-time data about mission-critical operations and availability of resources. Our FM teams should leverage the same “Information Now!” technologies that our mission-critical infrastructures are supporting today.

To hear more from Nabeel Mahmood,  join us at the Critical Facilities Summit on September 23-25 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas. For full agenda details, visit www.criticalfacilitiessummit.com.